So the frequency of publication has been determined. The newsletter name has been voted in, the content has been decided. Now it’s time to put it on paper. For some, this kind of creativity is a challenge. They may think, “Just list all the stuff that everyone needs to know and call it good.” This is where the creative people need to step in and take over.
Once the administrative people have laid the ground rules to the newsletter, the computer-savvy and visually imaginative can begin to turn the list of content into an eye-catching and exciting church publication in which everyone involved can take pride.
Creating a newsletter is relatively simple, though it can take a little bit of time the first time around. And it can take even more time while it awaits approval from the appropriate people in charge. Planning ahead is the key. A week before publication may not be the best time to try to throw a newsletter together. The best method is to have the first draft of the next month’s newsletter completed the beginning of this month. That way it can be proofread, corrections can be made, and the overall newsletter can be approved well in advance before it is to be printed.
Now on to the nuts and bolts of a newsletter. A newsletter can be put together in either Microsoft Publisher or Microsoft Word. Some will say that Publisher is easier to work with, since the individual newsletter elements can be clicked and dragged to anywhere on the page for great visual appeal. This feature is not readily available in Word. Others will say that Word is a better program to use because it is a more universal program. Not everyone will have Publisher on their desktop, but most people will have some version of Microsoft Word. Regardless what program is used, once a basic template is established, the formatting of all future newsletters can be done with ease.
• Plan enough time to have the newsletter proofread several times before publication. • Include articles that are interesting and easy to read. • Put the most eye-catching material on the front page. • Use pull quotes from the articles to add additional interest.
Newsletter “Do Not’s”
• Don’t make the pages too cluttered with large blocks of text. • Don’t use too many clip art images- one or two per page is enough. • Don’t use big, fancy words in the articles. • Don’t feel compelled to print the newsletter in color. If the content is of good quality, people will still read it in black and white print.
Once these ground rules have been set in place, there are lots of things that can be done to spruce up the overall look of the newsletter. Use different seasonal and holiday templates and clipart if available. These help make the newsletter visually appealing and fun to read. Just avoid making the pages too busy. In this case, always apply the K.I.S.S. rule: “keep it simple, silly!” It is also important to not make the newsletter too lengthy. Typically a good informative newsletter will be around 2 to 3 pages in length. For larger churches, more pages may be necessary.
The church newsletter can be used for evangelistic purposes. It is also one of several ways to keep the congregation in the loop of the goings on of the church. It can certainly help create a sense of family among the members. And by using the newsletter as both a fun and informative communication tool can also help establish a collective ownership of the overall mission of the church. It is this kind of activity that generates an atmosphere of unity among God’s people, echoing the words of the sweet psalmist, David: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)